It is not surprising to see that South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is suing Missouri’s athletics director Jim Sterk for slander. Sterk accused Staley of encouraging Gamecock fans to spit on and use racial slurs against his players following South Carolina’s 64-54 win January 28, 2017.
Sterk said in a radio interview in Missouri that Staley created the unhealthy environment.
“It wasn’t a great atmosphere,” Sterk said. “It was really kind of unhealthy, if you will. We had players spit on, and called the N-word, and things like that. It was not a good environment and unfortunately, I think Coach Staley promoted that kind of atmosphere, and it’s unfortunate that she felt she had to do that.”
It was an incendiary accusation by Sterk. However, he offered no evidence of how Staley’s actions prompted the crowd to spit on Missouri players and call them niggers.
For her part, Staley said it never happened. “The accusations are serious and false, and they will be handled in the manner reflective of those facts,” Staley said at the time. “Our fans are great. They’re loyal. They’re passionate. They understand basketball. They understand how to act in the stands. If I could uproot them and put them in every women’s basketball arena, every coach that represents that particular fan base would be tremendously proud of what they bring to the table.
“I stand by our fans. I stand by what they represent. I stand by how they cheer. I stand by every single thing that they bring to the building because it’s appropriate and well within game rules.”
South Carolina investigated Sterk’s allegations and found no evidence that Staley acted out of line. Staley is suing Sterk for no more than $75,000.